On any given Friday afternoon across America, most of us are likely to utter a variation of the same phrase: “Have a great weekend!” A good weekend may be one in which we are able to relax, but I believe that a truly great weekend is one in which something meaningful is accomplished. By that standard, thousands of Americans started April with an amazing weekend during which they saved thousands of animals during the ASPCA’s first-ever Mega Match-a-thon.
Animal shelters and rescue organizations recognize that weekends are of prime importance for the adoptable animals in their care, as potential adopters are more likely to look for companion animals to adopt on days when they do not have to work. Some creative people who work on the ASPCA’s Community Outreach team spend a lot of time brainstorming ways to create excitement around animal adoption events. This year, they proposed and implemented a dramatic idea: concurrent Mega Match-a-thon events to be held throughout the country, which would be subsidized by the ASPCA to support high-volume community adoption events.
The ASPCA granted nearly $500,000 to be shared among 53 animal welfare organizations. Each grant recipient had made a thoughtful proposal detailing how it would use the funds we provided to create successful weekend adoption events. The Mega Match-a-thon weekend was a huge success—and 6,144 animals found loving homes.
Happy stories poured into us throughout the weekend adoption event:
- Riverside County Department of Animal Services in Riverside, California, adopted out 400 animals over the weekend;
- Staff and volunteers at Bangor Humane Society in Bangor, Maine, closed up early and went home after running out of animals;
- The Humane Society for Southwest Washington in Vancouver, Washington, broke its own record for the most adoptions (44) in a single day within the first two hours of its event;
- Rubbles, a 12-year-old blind Shih Tzu, was adopted from the Humane Society of Greater Miami in Miami, Florida, by a local soldier, and as soon as Rubbles got to his new home, his proud dad shared photos of Rubbles finding his way to the kitchen; and
- Wisconsin Humane Society spent a lot of time preparing for its 24-hour adoption event, including posting a Paw-jama Puppy Parade on its website; their hard work paid off with 156 animals adopted during the event.
While the immediate and wonderful result of the Mega Match-a-thon events held throughout the country was the thousands of lives saved, the excitement these events elicited in their communities will hopefully lead to an enduring legacy of more people saving lives by adopting homeless animals in their local shelters.